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Ukrainian Blogger Held By Russia-Backed Separatists Declares Hunger Strike

Stanislav Aseyev
Stanislav Aseyev

A Ukrainian blogger being held by Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine's eastern region of Donetsk has declared a hunger strike, a longtime friend and former lawmaker says.

The friend, Yehor Firsov, posted on Facebook on July 5 that Stanislav Aseyev, who writes under the name Stanislav Vasin and contributes to RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, began the hunger strike a week ago.

Firsov said Aseyev is being “kept in a damp room, sick, but does not receive the necessary medications” while under separatist custody.

Aseyev went missing in Donetsk on June 2, 2017.

Weeks later, Amnesty International said it had received information from sources in the Donetsk region saying that Aseyev was being held by the self-styled security organs of the Russia-backed separatists.

RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service has been unable to contact him since his disappearance.

Firsov wrote on Facebook in July 2017 that the separatists had confirmed they were holding Aseyev and that his mother had been allowed to visit him.

He said the separatists have accused Aseyev of espionage and threatened him with up to 14 years in prison.

Last month, RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service published a book of Stanislav's essays for distribution free of charge.

Ukraine's National Union of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Amnesty International have expressed concerns over Aseyev's whereabouts and said separatists must release him immediately if they are holding him.